Blowing In The Wind
If you let yourself be blown to and fro, you lose touch with your root.
If you let restlessness move you, you lose touch with who you are
There is an old hospital on 100 acres or so of land behind my house. The hospital was built over a century ago and has been abandoned for a couple of decades. The land that the hospital sits on has trees on it that I’m sure have been there as long as the buildings. Sometimes when we have a real windy day I watch the trees move against that wind. Some of them like the pines and the maples sway back and forth as if the wind is controlling them like a puppeteer. Others like the oak stand sturdy. On occasion when the wind is really strong, it will snap or uproot the maples and pines. The oaks still stand strong in this wind.
In this passage the Tao is telling us that we need to identify ourselves. We need to announce ourselves to the universe. We need to make sure we live life according to our values. If we allow the latest trends to blow us off our course we will become like the maple tree or the pine tree. We will sway in the wind and if the wind (trend) is strong enough it may snap us.
Sometimes there are things that we do that we know are not right. Things that are not part of our value system. Things that make us feel uneasy while doing or saying them. After we do or say these things we know that it did not align with our authentic voice. These are the times that we are the pine tree being blow to and fro. We are being blown off our root by that most current wind or trend.
We also have that restlessness inside. We feel it when we are sitting with someone who is unfamiliar or who makes us slightly uncomfortable. We are unable to sit with the restlessness and just be. We are unable to strengthen through our root and not let the restlessness make us do or say something that does not line up with who we are. We are letting the restlessness move us and move us to lose touch with who we are.
One time I worked with a person who I was uncomfortable to be around and uncomfortable to talk to on the phone. This person caused much restlessness inside me. They had a habit of not answering a question right away. Maybe they were thinking before giving an answer. Maybe they were waiting to see if there was more to my question. That extra second or two after I asked a question was the restless wind that would blow me off my root. It would make me so uncomfortable that I may say something that made no sense in the conversation or I would ask another question before they answered the first. I would get flustered and the whole conversation would end up going nowhere because I was not comfortable enough with myself to let my question speak for itself. I had not gotten in touch with my root and the principles that made me who I was. The principles that would give me the confidence to stand strong like the oak and let this person answer my question.